The Clay County School District said it was blindsided when the sheriff announced he was handing over some responsibilities to the newly created school police force.
The department was approved in February and only has three employees right now.
MORE: Clay County School Board state approval for new police force | Parents begging Clay County School Board to reconsider plan to create its own police department | School district, sheriff at odds over law enforcement in Clay County schools
Sheriff Darryl Daniels said despite that, it’s time for the department to handle its own calls once school resource deputies leave campus. The superintendent of Clay County Schools didn’t see that decision coming and the district was surprised when they got a letter from the sheriff stating calls for service will be routed to the new force.
Now Sheriff Daniels and Chris Padgett, public information deputy, said anything that happens on campus after school hours would need to be handled by the new department.
"Were going to relinquish the jurisdictional rights that the district police have to them, to handle those calls of service that may occur after hours,” Padgett said.
The district just got approval from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in March. Right now their only employees are the chief and two lieutenants.
Clay County sheriff’s deputies said they’re stepping back because the school resource officer services they give are only contracted to be implemented during school hours.
But if there were a significant issue that threatened the safety of students and staff, they will still step in if needed.
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“Most of those will be property crime-related and things like that historically from what we normally see. But on weekends, holidays and after hours, that will be relinquished to them for their jurisdiction,” Padgett said.
This news comes ahead of next semester, when initial plans called for school resouce officers to be fully trained and staffed for the entire district. This leaves some parents worried the change is happening too soon.
The Clay County Schools police force is now given the task of answering calls for service after regular school hours. Find out why the Clay County Sheriffs offices felt it was necessary to make the transition at 5:30 on @ActionNewsJax— Brittney Verner (@BrittneyVerner) April 22, 2019
“We don’t really know who all is involved and how they were trained. To my knowledge, they're not even trained yet and they’re already taking calls and protecting the schools,” one parent said.
“Consider it like a house. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is the house itself and each individual police department is a different section of that house. We can still go through the house, but we want to be respectful."
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